There’s nothing like moving house to kick start a healthier, more organised and domestic you. Just like the first day of a new job offers the promise of a fresh start, moving house inspires a new lease on life that no New Year’s resolution or well intended “habits journal” can match.
Findings in a 2015 study cited by the Association for Psychological Science suggest “new beginnings” can prompt us to better tackle personal goals, creating what’s called the “fresh start effect”. Follow-up research shows life’s transition points (or the perception of a transition point) empower humans to leave their past behind, allowing them to embrace their new selves and potential for success.
There’s no denying that moving house also inspires some less celebrated moments, from failed attempts to connect to the internet, to being forced to confront the unfriendly neighbour who insists on parking in your car space. These frustrations aside, there’s plenty of beauty to be found in moving. The most liberating part of settling into a new place is that eventual night (and it definitely won’t be the first night) when everything is finally sorted. The boxes have been folded away, there’s food beyond takeaway in the fridge, the television is tuned and if you’re lucky, there’s maybe even a Wi-Fi connection. But really, it’s the smaller, often overlooked moments that truly make a home.
It’s that thrill of lighting the open fireplace for the first time, watching seeds grow into plants in the garden, and finally finding the perfect spot to place that awkwardly shaped bookshelf.
It’s getting to know the neighbourhood – befriending the local barista, finding a beautiful park tree to read under or the best jogging trail and mapping out the quickest backstreets route to work. It’s these small milestones that ultimately define the overall living experience.
I have moved house at least 15 times in my life, and just like a brand new mother who swears “I’m never doing that again”, soon enough, I find myself itching to repeat it all over. Because for frequent movers, each move presents a new opportunity to get it right. In my case, the possibility of a sunny balcony, being within walking distance to a market and being part of a lively neighbourhood eventually becomes too overpowering, and before I know it, it’s back to house hunting.
The New York Times reports some therapists view frequent movers as “pulling a geographic”, meaning they seek external changes to change internal problems. But in a varied and ever-changing city, moving provides me the opportunity to discover a new area and lifestyle. Plus, it’s another chance to secure my dream 1950s apartment with a pink-tiled bathroom.
Moving can be stressful, and no matter how well planned the move is, it will be at least three weeks until your new space resembles anything close to a home. To survive it, it’s just about finding the calm in the chaos.
Written by Amelia Barnes – Reporter for Domain.com.au